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Photos: Flamboyant Indian guru sentenced to prison

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    The Indian spiritual guru, who calls himself Dr. Saint Gurmeet Singh Ram Rahim Insan, rides a motorcycle in October as he arrives for a press conference ahead of the release of his new film “MSG: The Warrior Lion Heart,” in New Delhi, India. A judge on Monday sentenced the flamboyant and controversial Indian spiritual guru to prison on charges of raping two female followers.

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    The Indian spiritual leader who calls himself Dr. Saint Gurmeet Singh Ram Rahim Insan, right, and others raise a toast with glasses of milk as they hold a ‘Cow Milk Party’ during the premiere of the movie “Jattu Engineer” in New Delhi, India in May.

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    The Indian spiritual leader turned actor who calls himself Dr. Saint Gurmeet Singh Ram Rahim Insan gestures as he holds up a glass of milk at a “Cow Milk Party” during the premiere of the movie “Jattu Engineer” in New Delhi, India in May.

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    A child wears a T-shirt with a portrait of Indian spiritual guru, who calls himself Dr. Saint Gurmeet Singh Ram Rahim Insan, during a press conference ahead of the release of the guru’s film “MSG, The Warrior Lion Heart,” in New Delhi, India in October.

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Devotees of Indian spiritual guru, who calls himself Dr. Saint Gurmeet Singh Ram Rahim Insan, stand near a poster of his film “MSG: The Warrior Lion Heart,” in New Delhi, India in October.

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    The Indian spiritual guru who calls himself Dr. Saint Gurmeet Singh Ram Rahim Insan, center, greets followers as he arrives for a press conference ahead of the release of his new movie “MSG, The Warrior Lion Heart,” in New Delhi, India in October.

A popular and flamboyant Indian spiritual guru, who calls himself Dr. Saint Gurmeet Singh Ram Rahim Insan, was sentenced by a judge on Monday to 20 years in prison on charges of raping two female followers.

The guru has denied raping the two followers, in a case that stems from charges filed in 2002.

The bling-loving leader is fond of red leather jackets, bejeweled hats, bicep-baring T-shirts — and cinema.

He has started a film franchise in which he stars as the “Messenger of God,” or MSG, with divine powers to save the world. In his most recent film, he plays a secret agent armed with a twirled moustache and an assortment of swords to fight aliens and UFOs.

The sect claims to have about 50 million followers and campaigns for vegetarianism and against drug addiction. It also organizes blood-donation and tree-planting drives.

Religious sects like the Dera Sacha Sauda have huge followings in India. These sects and their leaders inspire intense devotion among their believers and also wield considerable political clout. Many maintain private militias for their protection.

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